THE arrival of spring brings the need to fine-tune the wardrobe.
Out go cosy winter coats, toastie knee-high boots and knitted tights.
In come cool cardies, floaty dresses and summer shoes.
To mark the season change, which is often coupled with confusion over what trends to invest in, The Bridges hosted a fashion week to showcase the key spring and summer styles.
Throughout the week Sunderland University fashion students scoured the shopping centre to snap the best-dressed shoppers, as part of their search for Wearside’s very own fashionista.
At the end of each day, the photos were uploaded onto Facebook and the public were invited to log on and cast their vote on who should receive that day’s style crown.
On Friday, the students put on two catwalk shows, giving shoppers the chance to see their carefully crafted designs.
And over the weekend, Bridges retailers put on runway shows to showcase the latest trends that can be picked up in the shopping centre.
Republic store manager Vicky Fitzsimons said: “The Bridges Fashion Week is a fantastic way to highlight the unique style of many Sunderland residents.”
Andy Bradley, director at the shopping centre, added: “The week highlights how Bridges shoppers have what it takes to be top of the style stakes.
“And the fashion show is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the retailers’ latest trends to inspire our shoppers for the summer season.”
Pastels, pinks, block colours, and dramatic dresses were all on the bill as the students’ creativity went into overdrive.
Asked to create an outfit inspired by top designers Chanel, Martin Margiella and Dolce and Gabbana (D&G), they showcased a raft of unique designs.
Models strutted their stuff on the catwalk wearing everything from casual day wear and office attire to clubbing gear and ballroom gowns.
Hilary Turnock, Fashion Product and Promotion degree lecturer, said: “The second year students’ brief was to design their own interpretation of the big designers themes and styles.
“They designed and then made the garments and leather accessories as part of their coursework.
“They were then given the opportunity to put on the show as part of Fashion Week, which they have all enjoyed.”
Student Sarah Wynn impressed the crowd with her innovative dress made out of newspapers.
“I’ve worked with fabric before and wanted to do something different,” said the 20-year-old. “So I decided to use newspapers with a papier mache bodice.
“It was definitely more of a challenge but I think it looked more effective – more like body armour.
“I much prefer unusual stuff so it worked well with me.”
Amy Whelan, 23, of Durham, took her inspiration from fashion house D&G to create a stunning dress fit for the Oscars.
She said: “A lot of D&G clothes use lace, so I incorporated that into my designs and made the dress a bit more wearable.
“The show has been quite stressful but really good and the models have been brilliant.”
Chloe Rodgers, 21, of Seaham, also took her inspiration from D&G to create a delicate ballerina-style summer dress.
“Their summer collection takes a lot from the 1950s so I wanted to mix different textiles to give it lots of different layers.”